CINCINNATI, Oh. (AP) – Jonathan Ward, trying to win a spot in a crowded Arizona backfield, ran for two touchdowns and the Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Bengals 36-23 in a preseason opener Friday night that saw starters for both teams watching from the sideline in street clothes.

Ward plunged in for a pair of 1-yard touchdowns in the second quarter.

Trace McSorley and Jarrett Guarantano, in competition to be the third-string quarterback, shared the snaps for the Cardinals. McSorley, who was signed midway through the 2021 season, threw for 163 yards and a touchdown to Andre Baccellia.

Guarantano, an undrafted free agent, was 7 for 10 for 54 yards and tossed a short touchdown pass to Jontre Kirklin.

The Bengals lost Brandon Allen, who backed up Joe Burrow last season, early in the game with a concussion. That left third-stringer Jake Browning to direct Cincinnati the rest of the way, except for a late appearance by undrafted free agent Drew Plitt.

It was Plitt who had the highlight for the Bengals, a 25-yard scoring pass to Kendric Pryor with 1:14 left. He completed all six of his pass attempts for 76 yards.

Evan McPherson picked up where he left off in his terrific rookie season, booting field goals of 23, 58 and 56 yards for Cincinnati.

It was a messy affair for the Bengals’ rookies and back-ups. They were flagged for 11 penalties that cost them 104 yards. That included a 60-yard run by running back Chris Evans that was erased by a holding penalty.

Keaontay Ingram also had a 1-yard touchdown run for Arizona (1-0).

Trent Taylor added four catches for 74 yards. Jacques Patrick ran for a 1-yard TD in the fourth quarter.

Burrow, who led the Bengals to their first Super Bowl in 33 years last season, is still recovering from an appendectomy on July 27. Plitt was signed as insurance when Burrow went down.


Bengals: Allen went out after playing the first series. It’s not clear how long he’ll be out. … TE Mitchell Wilcox left in the first quarter with an ankle injury and didn’t return.

Cardinals: Baccellia suffered an ankle injury in the first half and didn’t return.


Cardinals: Host Ravens on Aug. 21.

Bengals: At Giants on Aug. 21.